Why has Irish Social Partnership Survived?



The present system of social partnership in Ireland is in its twentieth year. A range of explanations have been put forward to explain why social partnership has been so durable even though it does not possess the institutional endowments often considered necessary to sustain tripartite industrial relations arrangements. Although these accounts are considered to have merits, this article suggests that they also suffer from a range of weaknesses. The article suggests that the longevity of the social partnership regime is a result of it being part of an unorthodox system of institutional complementarities that triggered a spectacular period of economic and employment growth.